Are you ready for the 4th of July?

The long-awaited four-day weekend of the summer is upon us! You’ve got a couple of days off, your suitcases packed for that road trip you’ve been planning, decisions to make on which cookout(s) to attend. Or maybe you’re staying home and throwing your own party. Perhaps you’re also hoping to catch up on your inbox, or get a jump on that project you never seem to have time for during the week. After all, there’s a lot you can do with all this time.

But what about work-life balance?

Sure, you’ve heard of it. It’s a concept you can get behind one minute, while checking your email the next. The “live at work” culture at many workplaces makes it easy to work until the job is done–no matter what hour that may be. Meals catered in, nap spots readily available, and a relaxed dress code make it even more difficult to unplug and head home.

But now that you’re off for four days–before you find yourself scrolling through a conversation thread as you lay by the pool, answering a quick phone call on the road, lying awake at your campsite or hotel remembering that meeting you should have set up–consider the big picture. There’s important professional development that comes from adapting the skill of “letting go.”

Here at the GUILD, we’re sharing four useful (and fun) ways to decompress this 4th of July.

Challenge yourself: can you commit to each one?

1. Make a list of what you want to get done. And then put it away.

This may seem like a contradiction, but instead of doing “a little here and a little there” while you’re home, make a list before you leave the office. Write down what you’ll start off with when you return. That way, when you get back to work, you can jump right back in. Even just making a list will help stave off your worries of forgetting to do something, though you won’t begin to work through it until you’re back. This gives you the ability to compartmentalize your work and enjoy your time off.

2. Refocus your mental energy.

Whether it’s sitting down to watch that documentary that piqued your interest a few months ago, crafting the latest trend from Pinterest, or perfecting a skill (for me, that’s kiteboarding), finally commit to it. Feeling inspired about new possibilities can be rare in the chaos of a busy work week, so take advantage of a relaxing sunny day to flip through a magazine in the park. Focusing on other stimulating activities will help you problem-solve differently next time you’re in the office.

3. Build your (other) network.

As Founder of the GUILD, I’m focused on building professional networks, but remember: your personal circle of friends and family is just as important. Try taking your parents out to breakfast or FaceTiming your best friend who lives across the country. Binge-watching Netflix while holed up on the couch may seem tempting, but building bonds with the important people in your life will prove more fulfilling in the long run.

4. Do those “life” things that often get ignored–and enjoy them!

Visit the grocery store and sip a coffee as you pick out your favorite foods (a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, anyone?). Rid your closet of the crop tops you haven’t worn since college. Paint your bathroom the bright color you’ve been eyeing. Sure, these tasks may seem mundane, but taking time to enjoy them without rushing makes them not only more pleasant, but saves time during the busy week.

Whether you’re looking forward to a stay-cation or crossing the country to visit family, approach this holiday break with intention. No work allowed! Time off is something to be honored and savored, not used for catching up. A chance to press “refresh” on your personal life will pay off both in and out of the office.

How will you let go of your work this 4th of July weekend?

Originally published at


  • Anne Cocquyt


    The GUILD

    A serial entrepreneur, computer and data scientist, and corporate veteran who is passionate about women’s career advancement. CEO & Founder of the GUILD - - a networking platform for women.